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A Quiet Day

I’ve had a quiet day today.  I didn’t feel particularly well when I woke up, after a disturbed night, but hey, as husband and I are wont to say to each other upon waking, “We’re still here!”

And so I’ve taken things quietly today.  Husband went to younger son’s to complete some work he has been doing – making new cupboard doors (12 of them) in their main bedroom, and they do look very smart and have saved son and his partner a small fortune.  Besides, husband enjoys making things, so it’s a win-win situation.

Before he went to our son’s house husband made us breakfast (porridge) which I had in bed and he also went to the local shop for the paper.  I got up, showered, dressed, and then did the minimum amount of housekeeping to keep the house looking tidy:  made the bed, cleaned the basin and loo and put out clean towels, filled the dishwasher with the breakfast and early morning coffee things, put the washing machine on and changed the flower water in all the vases, and as the scarlet gladioli were removed yesterday replaced them in the bay window in the sitting room with some of the flowers from our anniversary bouquet.  By changing flower water regularly (each day if possible) you really do extend the lives of cut flowers.

I decided to have some leek and potato soup (which I had had in the freezer) for lunch, with some of the spelt bread we bought yesterday, and some grapes and soft figs to follow.

I don’t know why the soup is now a pale orange, as there’s nothing ‘orange’ in it, it looks more like carrot & coriander, doesn’t it?  But I assure you it’s leek & potato!  Anyway, it tasted good, which is all that matters.

During the afternoon I simply sat on the sofa (the one that hasn’t had its seat cushions taken to the upholsterer!) and read Alan Titchmarsh’s book, The Haunting.  Here it is on top of one of the new woollen throws (which is really soft, warm and cosy.)

I’ve not actually reviewed any books on my blog and I’m not going to review Alan’s book here, but just say how much I’m enjoying it. Indeed, I’ve read several of his books now and have enjoyed each and every one of them, and have three more on order.  This novel has a dual narrative: part is set in the 1810s and part in the 2010s in a small (fictional) village close to Winchester in Hampshire.  Why should I be so surprised that Alan can write so well?  I really don’t know, but he can.  I have always considered him mainly a gardener, indeed a highly acclaimed and experienced gardener and, when younger, a bit of a cheeky chappie, a Yorkshireman through and through, but in his novels he demonstrates his love of language, and his powers of description have been a very pleasant surprise.   There are passages which, if I didn’t know Alan had written them, I’d have thought they might’ve come from, say, Joanna Trollope.  They are gentle reads – yes, people in them have problems; we all have problems at some points in our lives and the books reflect this – but they are not harsh.  They are lovely stories, well told.

Before I settled to read, I made a pot of tea and put out a plate of small macarons.

I bought these a few weeks ago in Lidl. I just hope they still have some in their freezer on my next visit!

Also, before I settled to read I decided to pop a chicken in the oven to roast, so that we can have this for supper with some mashed potatoes and gravy. Neither of us feels like having much to eat – I hope we’re not sickening for something! – so it will be a very easy, but nourishing meal, this evening.

And thus I have enjoyed a quiet day.  We all need one of those occasionally.

Until next time.


About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. I agree Margaret, we do need a quiet day occasionally especially if we are feeling a little under par. Lack of sleep doesn’t help either. I have learnt to listen to my body and not try to fight it if I am not feeling great. Chilling out and doing something relaxing which you enjoy is good for the soul. Hope you are not sickening for something and feel better soon. X

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you for your good wishes, Dot. I think it was just a had night’s sleep (or lack of sleep) and I got up around 3am and made some Ovaltine and had a chocolate biscuit as I felt hungry but didn’t want to cook anything at that hour of the night (or morning!) Perhaps not the best thing to have at 3am as the hot milky drink and chocolate biscuit sat heavily on my stomach. But I feel much better having not done much today. You are right, we should listen to our bodies. Chicken and mashed potatoes, peas and gravy for supper, really simple but nourishing, and perhaps an early night.

  2. Wise to slow down when one is under par. Sometimes it makes whatever is brewing, less harsh, and often it just goes away. I think that all that rushing around when we no know that we are not 100%, really drags things out. I hope that you feel better soon.

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Ratnamurti, I am feeling much better this evening. I will now have a warm shower and get ready for bed early and go there about 9pm and perhaps read for a little while. Thank goodness for a pleasant, cosy bedroom, good bedside reading lamps, and warmth, either from an electric mattress cover or a h.w.b. (or both in the depths of winter here!)

  3. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Sorry to hear that you have been feeling under the weather today. I can see in your response to Ratnamurti that you are already feeling much better. So glad to hear that. I do hope that you wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed tomorrow.
    I adore macarons but they bring the greedy me to the fore and I struggle to resist eating them until they are all gone. Thus they are a Christmas treat only.
    I’d no idea that Alan Tichmarsh had written so many novels. Your comment regarding Joanna Trollope has made me think that I must try one. Which would you recommend as a good introduction?

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, feeling much better this morning, thank you, Eloise. I had a better night’s sleep, and that really helps.
      I started by reading Alan’s latest book, Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour and if that encouraged me to read more of his novels, perhaps that’s the one to start with? It’s just great fun, and while it’s fanciful it doesn’t overstep the realms of possibility. I am, however, currently reading The Haunting and absolutely loving it. They are not great literature, but they are lovely, easy reads. But neither are they what I would refer to as ‘soppy’ romances.

  4. I hope you are feeling better by the time you read this (its 2:45pm Saturday on the east coast of Australia as I type this and time differences confuse me at the best of times, I’m afraid). I agree with the others’ comments that to rest when feeling under the weather is the sensible thing to do.

    I’m propped up on my bed with the ceiling fan on medium to provide relief from our humidity. I baked a loaf of gluten free banana bread this morning, using a new type of packet mix that I’d found in a different supermarket last week. It’s nice to have something hubby and I can share with a cuppa but having the oven going made the kitchen like an inferno. Reading about your cosy wooden throw rug and roast chicken dinner makes me envious for cooler weather but then I’m fairly sure I couldn’t survive a UK winter 😉

    Wishing you a speedy recovery xx

    • Margaret Powling

      Your email arrived here at 3.52am, Lara (according to my computer) and I’m writing this at 8.22am on Saturday morning. Yes, the time difference is confusing. It also seems strange to hear of your heat and humidity while we are putting the central heating on now each evening if not during the day time when we are busy in the house and keeping warm. It’s not been very cold yet, though, thank goodness. Mind you, my dear friend who was my bridesmaid texted from Canada on our anniversary and mentioned that they had had their first snow fall, so we think ourselves lucky with just a slight chill in the air!
      Your banana bread sounds lovely, but the heat in your kitchen will be very oppressive. This is what I love about living in England, especially if like us you don’t much care for very hot weather (although our summers are becoming hotter): we have four distinct seasons. Many years ago I wrote a feature on Barometers for a magazine and wrote: “In Britain we are at the crossroads of the world’s weather, blasted in turns by cold north-westerly or north-easterly winds from Greenland and Russia and then buffeted by south-westerly and south-easterly winds from the Atlantic and Europe.” This is perhaps the reason for our very changeable climate all year round, though, as even on a summer’s day we can have torrential rain and hailstones, and it can be hot in February (our winter) so that we go into the garden wearing jeans and T-shirt. Not often, but it can happen. Yes, I am sure you would survive winter here; you would wear warm clothes and curl up with warm throes and enjoy rib-sticking casseroles.

    • Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

      Lara, our winters are mild compared to some! We are having a warm October so far, though it does get cool in the evening. I don’t think I could survive in extreme heat. My husband lived in Perth, Australia for three years and he says that he KNOWS I couldn’t!

      • Margaret Powling

        I don’t like extremes of temperature, either, Eloise. We might moan about our very changeable climate here in the UK, hot one day, cold the next, but at least we don’t have extreme heat or cold and, on the occasion when it is very hot or very cold, we know it won’t last long!

  5. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    Sorry to hear you are feeling under the weather, we should all listen to our bodies and not push ourselves when feeling like this.x

    • Margaret Powling

      I’m feeling much better this morning, Marlene. Waking gradually often helps, too. If I wake up with a start, say I hear a noise outside, then I don’t feel as well as I do with a gradual awakening. Yes, we must listen to our bodies – I do tend to say to myself, “I’ll just do this … and then I’ll sit down!” and of course, by the time I’ve done whatever it is, I feel over-tired.

  6. Glad to read in your replies that you are feeling a little better Margaret, you still seemed to get a fair bit done before you sat down with Alan and Macaroons! which btw look delicious and will encourage a visit to Lidl.
    Hope you continue to improve and that Devon is enjoying the same warm weather as East Anglia, I was at the stables by 8am this morning and it was already warm enough for just a long-sleeved t-shirt.

    • Margaret Powling

      The macarons were in a freezer, Elaine, one of the chest freezers, not the chillers where they keep coleslaw and so forth.
      Yes, the weather here is mild and a bit muggy. How lovely to have stables! I’ve never ridden in my life, you’re a long way up on a horse! And yes, thank you, I am feeling much better. It’s a case of taking life a bit easier. I tend to overlook my age and think I can just carry on as I did at twenty. But I think that’s the best way to be. Once I start giving in to age, that’s a slippery slope!

      • Unfortunately they are not my stables Margaret, my girlie is in a livery yard and the owners are 100% responsible for their horse at the weekends, hence my early start. I don’t mind, have always been more of a lark than an owl.
        Gosh yes, never give in to the advancing years, bodies may age but mind and attitude can stay young, am convinced of it!

        • Margaret Powling

          I’m sure your horse enjoys you being with her at the weekend, and in the meantime, she is being looked after. I know not one thing about horses, though, apart from watching race horses on TV occasionally. But they are the most elegant of animals.
          I always loved it when my elderly uncle used to say that when he looked himself in the mirror to shave he was “in disguise”! Yes, you are right, mind and attitude can help us stay young.

  7. I’m afraid I harp on about our old cat but it feels like the main thing in my life sometimes. For at least the last three years she has woken me up between 4 and 8 times a night, shouting. Sometimes she wants to go out (often to lick rainwater off the leaves), sometimes she just wants me to point at her food dish. I know she’s senile but getting woken up with a start every couple of hours is very wearing and I sometimes feel very unwell at the start of the day.

    There is no answer (well, only the final one) but it helps to have a moan!

    I hope you’re continuing to feel better today.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, I am feeling much better today, thank you Alison.
      No need whatsoever to apologise for mentioning your dear cat. When we have pets, we do what we can for them. I remember when our elderly ginger tom (a neutered tom, I might add, a rescue cat) was going downhill with kidney problems, he used to sit on the draining board so that he’d be close to the taps, i.e. water supply. In the end, when the vet could help him no longer I took the unenviable decision to have him put to sleep. It was the kindest thing to do, he was obviously suffering. I held him while the drug was administered and I can say that it was very peaceful, he just faded away in less than 10 seconds. I have no regrets, but perhaps your cat hasn’t come to this stage yet. You will know when it’s kinder to have them put to sleep than to allow them to suffer, I know that. When we ‘adopt’ a pet we also take on the responsibility to make sure that their end of life is as comfortable as possible. But you must look after your own health, and if you are woken constantly at night, you must do what you can to rest in the day. No wonder you feel unwell at the start of the day. Sending hugs in abundance.

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